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Cleveland Mayor Bibb elected as chair of bipartisan Climate Mayors collaborative

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb speaking at the State of the City.
Michaelangelo's Photography
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb will chair Climate Mayors, which has more than 750 members from around the country and includes a dozen mayors from Ohio, according to its website.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb will be stepping into a new role as chair of Climate Mayors, a bipartisan organization that includes hundreds of mayors from across the country.

As chair, his priorities include centering racial equity and climate justice in this role, Bibb said, to ensure all residents are involved in and benefit from the decision-making process.

“It's so critical that we, as the mayors, talk about a work, wages and wealth agenda as it relates to the green economy so that we can ensure that every resident can be a part of this transition and that we leave no resident behind,” he said.

To do so, the organization will need to find long-term sources of funding for collaboration operations, while also engaging with mayors to find projects and solutions that address each community’s unique needs.

“We all know that climate change solutions look differently across the country. What's going to work in the West Coast might look very different in the Midwest or the South or the Northeast,” he said. “We really want to make sure we're engaging our mayors at the regional level to talk about regional challenges and solutions and come up with the right best practices to drive change in our respective communities.”

Implementation will also be key moving forward, Bibb said, especially coming out of COP28, the United Nation’s annual international climate summit, which defined project implementation as a key component of mitigating the effects of climate change.

Cleveland residents should expect to see some progress on the city’s clean and green projects in the coming year.

Next steps include continuing the city’s current climate change mitigation efforts, like electric vehicle infrastructure, decarbonization and walkability projects, Bibb said.

“We've also made a major commitment to use renewable energy in all of our city-owned buildings that are non-Cleveland Public Power," he said. "That'll go a long way for us to achieve our neutrality net carbon neutral goals as a city and as a region.”

Coordination with federal and state governments, the private sector and Cleveland residents will help ensure a smooth transition to the green economy, Bibb said.

Bibb was elected as vice chair of the network of mayors in 2022, and over the last year worked alongside then Chair and Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin Satya Rhodes-Conway.

“I can think of no better person to pass the torch to than Mayor Justin Bibb of Cleveland. Mayor Bibb has been a champion for climate issues from the very beginning,” Rhodes-Conway said. “He is the city's first millennial mayor, and has always put environmental justice and equity at the center of his climate work, which is going to be critical moving forward.”

Zaria Johnson is a reporter/producer at Ideastream Public Media covering the environment.